Tuesday, April 22, 2014

22/4/2014: On Irish Taxes, Quangos, Trade and other recent links


Some interesting links from recent media reports:


  1. Apparently, completely unpredictably, unexpectedly, shockingly abruptly etc etc etc... but Ireland-based MNCs are allegedly concerned with the OECD (aka G7-G20 prompted, EU-supported) efforts to reforms international tax systems to close off the more egregious loopholes in corporate taxation: http://www.independent.ie/business/world/major-companies-concerned-over-oecds-plans-for-global-tax-reform-30202748.html Now, with the IBEC, DofF, and everyone else in irish Officialdom repeatedly declaring that our tax regime is above the water and thus not in the firing line, one must wonder just why are these companies concerned with the OECD moves?
  2. On a related note, I just posted a new paper I wrote for the Cayman Financial Review on the above topic - see link here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2427359
  3. Unrelated to taxation issues, but related to fiscal policies of the Irish state, a note from the Irish Times on Government's heroic struggle with one electoral objective they set before 2011 GE: the objective of rationalising the massive spread of quangoes in Irish public policy ecosystem: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/coalition-s-quango-cull-falls-well-short-of-promises-1.1768500. Core facts pointed out in the article are: The Government promised to abolish 100-145 quangoes right before it came to power in Q1 2011. Three years later, 45 have been either abolished or planned for abolition, of which only 20 are likely to be completely shut by the next GE in Q1 2016 net of new created. To-date, only 28 bodies have been abolished, 17 more are set to be culled in the remaining tenure. And 33 new agencies have been created or planned for creation. Net impact: of 732 quangoes in existence in mid-2012, we are likely to have 720 quangoes in existence in mid-2016. 
  4. Now, recall that we are being repeatedly told that life outside the Euro for Ireland means kissing good bye our wonderful exporting capabilities. Here is a chart showing current account balance for Ireland and Germany (two star performers in the euro area in terms of trade) as contrasted by Denmark (a non-euro country that should be suffering from the trade deprivation due to its absence from the euro club). It turns out Denmark consistently outperforms Ireland in terms of current account surplus... So next time one of the Government parties' candidates start talking about Ireland's alleged benefits from the euro membership, do suggest they should take a trip to Denmark...
  5. An absolutely brilliant short summary of Economics as a field of inquiry in 297 words by Professor Thomas Sargent http://www.vox.com/2014/4/19/5631654/this-graduation-speech-teaches-you-everything-you-need-to-know-about It is superb.
  6. On artsy side of things, a stunning and powerfully original statement from China for Milan Expo 2015: http://www.dezeen.com/2014/04/01/china-pavilion-expo-milano-2015/ 
  7. A set of excellent, insightful essays and articles on Ukrainian crisis or more significantly - on Russia's position vis-a-vis the West: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/18/us-ukraine-putin-diplomacy-special-repor-idUSBREA3H0OQ20140418 and http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141018/mitchell-a-orenstein/get-ready-for-a-russo-german-europe and http://euobserver.com/foreign/123879
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